Termination disproportionate, worker reinstated

When the aggressor in a workplace fight was given a suspension and his opponent was fired, the union grieved. Despite giving better than he got, the grievor didn’t deserve to be fired, the arbitrator found.
By Mark Rogers
|Canadian Labour Reporter|Last Updated: 05/24/2011

Provoked by a racial taunt, a brewery worker was fired after back-handing the drunken colleague who was harassing him. The union grieved, citing obvious provocation and the fact that the penalty was disproportionate. For his part in the altercation, the other worker was awarded a 20-day suspension.

A warehouse worker at a brewery, M.N. had 30 years’ service with his employer. During the night shift on November 21, 2009, co-worker D.S. overheard M.N. make a derogatory remark as M.N. exited the shipping office. D.S. had been drinking.

D.S. then followed M.N. into the crew meeting room. On his break, M.N. was sitting at a computer. D.S. approached, stating, “You M——-F——-, who you calling a rat?”